Christian Terminology/Jargon

Have you ever been in a setting where you have no idea what the people are talking about because, even though they're speaking your language, you don't understand the words? One thing I've noticed is that the more entrenched in something we are, the less likely we are to realize that others are unfamiliar with our terminology. Not only does it make communicating hard, it's pretty off-putting to those who are not "in the know."

Introduction

Have you ever been in a setting where you have no idea what the people are talking about because, even though they're speaking your language, you don't understand the words? One thing I've noticed is that the more entrenched in something we are, the less likely we are to realize that others are unfamiliar with our terminology. Not only does it make communicating hard, it's pretty off-putting to those who are not "in the know." In the movie Easy A, there's a scene where the main character goes to seek spiritual guidance. When she requests to speak to the pastor of the church, she struggles with what word to use, rambling from words like "priest" and "minister" to "wizard." As she rambles, the church member assisting her looks at her as though she's absolutely insane. I wouldn't wish that on anyone! All should be welcome in the house of God and it should be a welcoming environment where such a situation is handled in love, not ridicule. Since I've grown up in the Church and taken two theology classes, it's likely I'll use words some of you aren't familiar with or you've heard before but you aren't quite sure what they mean (or the difference between a minister and a pastor, for example). So, I'm providing a glossary, of sorts. For heavy concepts, I'll summarize and link to more exhaustive explanations. If I missed a word, feel free to leave it in the comment section (or use the contact form) and I'll add it. (I would never judge anyone for asking to learn more, but I know many people are afraid to ask questions our of embarrassment of fear of ridicule. The contact form will allow you to submit anonymously, and I think the comment section will allow for that too, so don't let fear of embarrassment stop you from asking!)

Abbreviations Christians Use

Bible Translations

*Note, "Standard" doesn't actually mean this is an agreed upon standard; the editors made executive decisions to use this word.
AbbreviationMeaning
ESVEnglish Standard Version
HCSBHolman Christian Standard Bible
KJVKing James Version
MSGThe Message
NASBNew American Standard Bible
NIVNew International Version
NKJVNew King James Version
NLTNew Living Translation
RSVRevised Standard Version

Words Christians Use

This section is in progress as I come up with popular words and phrases I've heard that might not be familiar to those who didn't grow up in church. In the mean time, feel free to suggest some words below

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About

Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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